KY Policy Blog

Governor Vetoes Need-Based Scholarships for Thousands of Students

By Jason Bailey
April 28, 2016

Governor Bevin vetoed $40.3 million in funding for need-based college scholarships contained in House Bill 10, meaning denied aid for nearly 22,000 low-income students that had been awarded by the General Assembly. This is at the same time the budget cuts funding for higher education by 4.5 percent, leading to tuition hikes at the public universities and community colleges.

The governor’s vetoes also delay the start of the Work Ready Scholarship, a program designed to help some traditional-age students pursue associate’s degrees, by one year from 2017 to 2018. That read more

Indiana Medicaid Waiver Model Should Not Be Replicated in Kentucky Without Evaluation

By Ashley Spalding
April 15, 2016

With Kentucky considering pursuing a waiver that makes changes to its Medicaid program — and looking at Indiana’s waiver design in particular — it is important to keep in mind how much we still don’t know about the model’s implementation and effectiveness.

As shown in a new paper by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), there are serious questions about the data coming out of Indiana. As CBPP argues, it’s unwise to replicate the ideas Indiana has piloted before they are thoroughly evaluated.

Indiana is one of six read more

Uninsured Costs at U of L Hospital Have Dropped Dramatically Because of Medicaid Expansion and Kynect, But Could Go Up with Changes

By Jason Bailey
March 22, 2016

Senate leaders have raised a concern about the House’s inclusion of up to $10.5 million in their budget over the biennium to help cover health care costs for the uninsured at University of Louisville Hospital. They argue that if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was working so well, that appropriation wouldn’t be needed.

But a look at the data shows costs for the uninsured at the hospital have dropped dramatically since Kentucky created Kynect and expanded Medicaid, saving tens of millions of dollars for the state, the city of Louisville read more

House Should Vote to Keep Kynect and Protect Medicaid Expansion from Harmful Changes

By Jason Bailey
March 20, 2016

The House has the opportunity this week to pass House bills 5 and 6 and vote to maintain Kentucky’s momentum for better health and a stronger economy.

House Bill 5 would keep Kynect, the state’s nationally-recognized system for getting people the health coverage they are eligible to receive, a program that has led to the best coverage gains in the country. House Bill 6 would protect Medicaid expansion from harmful changes, like those being pursued in Indiana, that threaten to reduce access to coverage and care for many.

Here are read more

House Budget Does Not Restore Many Crucial Services for Vulnerable Kentuckians

By Anna Baumann
March 18, 2016

The House budget bill builds on Governor Bevin’s proposed funding for KTRS and KERS and rightly restores his cuts to P-12 and higher education. However, it maintains reductions to other budget areas, including parts of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) that serve Kentucky’s most vulnerable citizens.

The House budget appropriates a total of $2.5 billion in 2017 and $2.7 billion in 2018 from the General Fund (GF) to the Cabinet – just over $12 million (or 0.5 percent) more each year than the Governor proposed. $10.6 million read more

It’s Kentucky’s Lack of Coverage and Poor Health that Are Unsustainable, Not Medicaid

By Jason Bailey
March 10, 2016

While the administration claims that Kentucky’s Medicaid program is “unsustainable,” in fact Medicaid is a big benefit to Kentucky as it fills critical coverage gaps, improves health, injects dollars into communities and saves money in the budget previously spent on the uninsured.

Medicaid Is Helping Kentucky Cope with Economic Changes Medicaid costs aren’t up because of any flaw in the program, but because of the impact of more people qualifying for Medicaid in a challenging economy.

The bottom fell out in the Great Recession, with 119,000 Kentuckians losing their jobs. read more

With Medicaid Expansion, Kentucky Healthcare Job Growth Picked Up in 2015

By Jason Bailey
March 9, 2016

After modest growth in health care and social assistance jobs during the first year of Medicaid expansion, growth picked up at a rapid pace in 2015, according to newly-revised Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The billions of additional federal dollars coming in to the state to provide care for the newly insured likely played a role.

As shown in the graph below, jobs in the sector were tapering off before the state began signing people up for Medicaid expansion. Hospital employment declined (in Kentucky and nationally) as that industry reorganized read more

Three Steps to a Better Budget this Session

By Jason Bailey
February 25, 2016

The General Assembly has less than two months to finalize the next two-year state budget. Although the governor’s budget rightly takes a big step toward fully funding our pension liabilities, taken as a whole his plan would send the state backwards by deeply slashing the systems Kentucky relies on for the well-being of its citizens.

We don’t need to make such a painful choice. Kentucky can have a budget this session that more aggressively pays down our debt while better protecting education, human services and other vital investments needed to read more

Unanswered Questions about the Cost and Feasibility of Shutting Down Kynect

By Jason Bailey
February 23, 2016

The governor has notified the federal government that he intends to shut down Kynect and shift Kentucky to the federal health insurance exchange for the next open enrollment period that starts this November. In addition to potential harm to Kentuckians, including higher premiums and fewer people covered, big questions persist about the cost and feasibility of making this transition.

Kynect is widely viewed as a national model for its effectiveness in getting people signed up for the health insurance they are eligible to receive. And it’s shown in the results read more

A County-by-County Look at the Medicaid Expansion

By Dustin Pugel
December 18, 2015

A total of 425,782 Kentuckians were insured through the Medicaid expansion as of October. By county, between 3.7 and 19.1 percent of the population were covered and a total of $2.7 billion from the Medicaid expansion has flowed to providers. Especially benefitting is rural Kentucky. Perry County had the highest percentage of residents insured through the program with nearly 1 in 5 covered. Perry county also ranks 5th in Medicaid expansion money flowing into the county at $62.8 million since the beginning of the expansion.

The expanded Medicaid program in read more